When I was a small child in the 1970’s we often planned our lives around what was airing on network television. We browsed a weekly magazine called ‘TV Guide’ that provided schedules of what would be on. I fondly remember the annual airing of the classic 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz”. In preparation, my siblings and I would get in our pajamas and lay on blankets in the living room. To make the experience complete, our parents popped popcorn for us to chow down on.
The film begins in black and white where a small town teen named Dorothy is dealing with her small town troubles. Before we know it, a tornado hits town and Dorothy is struck unconscious. She wakes up in a fantasy world that is now seen in Technicolor. Once she gets situated and makes a few friends, she learns that her only way home (and ultimately happiness) is to journey down a road made of yellow bricks to an Emerald Castle where a wizard resides.
When I was a small town teen dealing with my own small town issues, I knew there was something else out there yet to be explored. When I was twenty-four years old I packed up my broken down Hyundai and drove across the country from New Jersey to Hollywood. Historic Route 66 was my Yellow Brick Road. Once I arrived in Hollywood, I knew I had made it. Here, I found my wife of twenty-six years, my career as a private investigator, and the spiritual fulfillment that writing brings me.
After thirteen years in Los Angeles, I became restless and found a new home in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas. Before I knew it, both of my siblings and their families made the Dallas area their permanent home as well. After seven years in Dallas, I felt Los Angeles pulling me back. Like a crazy ex-girlfriend, she wasn’t finished showing me a good time. So Wifey and I packed our things and headed back to our original Mecca. For our California reboot we moved to a wonderful beach community where we live and work remotely. I walk my dog Chauncey on the sand every day and often use a Chromebook in coffee shops and pubs as a branch office. Life could be worse. After all, this is Oz, right? I’ve spent the majority of my adult life in this city. However, when I turned fifty a year ago, I asked myself where I wanted to spend the rest of my life and the result of that inner conversation was not Los Angeles. It was Texas.
So Wifey and I set our plans to head back to the Lone Star State. While preparing a soundtrack for our upcoming road trip, I stumbled onto an advertisement featuring one of my all-time favorite artists, Elton John. It was for his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour. After decades performing to adoring crowds, he is saying sayonara to his Great Love: The Stage. The name of the tour is a reference to one of Elton’s greatest hits, entitled “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”
In many ways, Los Angeles was my first great love. With the exception of the occasional visit, I bid my beautiful and alluring mistress adieu. As Shakespeare wrote “parting is such sweet sorrow” it rings true here.
But Elton’s words ring even truer: “I’ve finally decided my future lies beyond the yellow brick road.”
Goodbye, my love. I’ll see you in Texas.